Here are the rules for businesses entering into contracts at a consumer’s home.
It’s what businesses that market products and services door-to-door or in a consumer’s home need to know about the Consumer Protection Act and how it applies to their business.
The 20-day cooling-off period on water heater contracts
Longer cooling-off period and clear contracts better protect consumers.
Ontario is increasing protections for consumers who feel pressured to sign a contract at the door for a water heater, giving them twice as long to reconsider their decision with a new 20-day cooling-off period.
As of April 1, 2015, consumers can cancel a contract signed at the door for any reason and without penalty within the 20-day cooling-off period. Also, suppliers cannot install a water heater within that same period unless there is a request from a consumer or there is a potential safety issue with the heater being replaced.
In addition, water heater suppliers now must:
- Give consumers information about their rights before a door-to-door water heater contract is signed
- Disclose key contract terms in clear, easy-to-understand language
- Provide information to the consumer about costs of long-term leases of water heaters compared with purchasing a water heater outright
- Make a scripted and recorded telephone call to a consumer to confirm the contract. If it is not confirmed, the contract would be void
- Pay all cancellation and other fees if the 20-day cooling-off period is not observed
Protecting Ontario consumers is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.
- The new rules are part of the Consumer Protection Act.
- Door-to-door water heater rentals/removals are traditionally one of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ Top Complaints.
- The ministry’s Consumer Beware List has information about businesses that have failed to respond to the ministry about a written consumer complaint; have had an order issued against them; or have a conviction or outstanding charge pending under the Consumer Protection Act.
- Find out about consumer rights and protections on door-to-door water heater sales and rentals, and other goods and services, from Consumer Protection Ontario.
- The Consumer Protection Act contains several provisions for cancelling a contract, including regulations on “cooling-off” periods.
April 2, 2015
Source: The Government of Canada, The Government of Ontario